Dear 2018, Thank you.

Dear 2018,

Thank you; thank you for the monumental, radical, challenging and beauty-filled year. For me, 2018 pushed more growth, more learning, more self-discovery than any other in my memory. From survival to thrive, 2018 above all gave me hope; hope that nothing is impossible, rather that I’m possible. My life looks nothing like what we are taught it should; my life is infinitely BETTER. Better because I have chosen everything in it, people, places etc. each intentional, nothing obligation. Years of The Inquiry and self reflection to get here. My journey really began about 8 years ago. Course, an ending is a beginning and a beginning is an ending.

In 2018, many gifts bestowed upon me didn’t look like “gifts” at first. The hard detective work to flip a “bad” to a “good”, to change a “why did this happen to me”, to an “I am so grateful for this experience” demands truthfulness, vulnerability and above all faith. Not the kind of faith that dictates worship of an outside entity that will solve your problems; the faith in yourself to sit in pain and KNOW you will emerge, the faith to love when it seems hopeless, the faith to walk away when your heart hurts, faith that YOU are enough even before you know-know it, the faith to enjoy life and believe you deserve it. No daddy swooping in to save me; Knights on white horses live in fantasies; no god will fill my bank account and bless me with happiness; my son cannot achieve something to give me joy; I am responsible for my emotional well-being. The buck stops here, stat.

Early in the year a seer advised me that if I were to make real progress to overcome some of my fears I would have to, “sit in the muck and wade my way across the mote”. Real growth and happiness would come with patience, sitting-still, not-forcing and allowing my emotions to flow. My life has so far been one where I made things happen. Brute force, will, determination, finding a way, type A, you name the synonyms and it would fit. Basically, her advice was to sit still and let it all wash over me. Holy shit, you serious!

And, so I did.

If you’ve read my other blogs, you will remember the old Freya had to die for this one to emerge.

I sat with emotions. In 2018, I grieved: curtains closed for days crying until my head pounded. I trusted that it would end, that the tears were cathartic, that grieving was natural. I allowed it.  And, just like that, I ended my period of grief with the same patience as the grieving began.

I sat with emotions. In 2018, I was insulted with all kinds of names: slut, whore, tramp, liar, fake, asshole, bitch, and on and on. I listened and realized: 1. People say to others what is in their hearts about themselves and it has nothing to do with me, 2. I can unconditionally love, 3. I don’t have to stay in any conversation. Someone I trusted was one of the ones who made me cry. The patterns were familiar to me: be yelled at, think I am to blame, try to fix it, apologize, feel awful, rinse and repeat. The gift in this horrible experience was the reminder, never again. Instead of it taking years to recognize, it took weeks. Success!!! And, I lovingly ended that friendship. The aftermath left me rattled as the pattern persisted for months, because I allowed it thinking I could “help”. Lesson after lesson.

I sat with emotions. In 2018, a laughter filled year, I reconnected with best friends all over the world, both physically and digitally. Powerful friendships that buoyed me in my darkness, gave me hysterical fits of laughter, shared poetry, late night talks, chats, emails,Viber, WhatsApp and anywhere and anyhow. This laughter reminded me of my humanity, my inner child, the joyful Freya that is my DEEPEST nature. My friends were my mirror when I couldn’t be.

I sat with emotions, and felt my inner power. Goddess Freya.

2018 also was a year of profound beauty. I have received compliments and kindness. (Just today a friend told me I “radiated with my inner beauty”. Really????) I produced a magazine and a fashion show. I did a multi-day silent retreat, alone in the woods. I traveled to Bali and lived a few precious days the way I dream of living my life. 2018 I took on a new sport and gave myself space to be a beginner again. I wrote poem after poem. I reveled in my first real alone time in 20+ years. I processed a move, a divorce, a joint parenting schedule, a new job, lost friends, new friends and all the same stuff you are processing, too.

I sat with emotions. New ones and old ones.

I am taking into 2019 some reminders, some new learnings, and a couple of intentions:

Reminder - Name calling doesn’t work for me, no matter what. If I ever hurt you, please tell me, using specific words that described my actions so I can choose to do better.

Reminder - Yelling does not work for me either, no matter what. Honest difference of opinion make us diverse; beauty lies in diversity. Share with me, just use your inside voice, please.

Reminder - All Emotions are “good” emotions. They are our windows, portals, to deeper insecurities and connection. If we are brave and we ask ourselves, why? Usually we find a fear of failure, rejection or abandonment. When we can see the root, we can ask for what we need with loving kindness.

Reminder - Worry cannot create new outcomes. What will happen will happen. Grace and patience mean to me the fortitude to wait for events to unfold, to revel in their innate beauty and to decide how to respond only later, when I have had time to reflect. To love unconditionally.

New Learning - I can be patient, watch and allow. I can be more like water and revel in the quiet unfolding.

New Learning - My expansiveness is for real. And, so is yours. There is as much value in sitting on a rock in the sun as being on the board of a corporation, says my coach Judith Froemming. How right. Expansiveness doesn’t mean busy-ness. Less busy-ness more intention. Less striving, more joy.

Intention - I am a lover, an unconditional lover filled with joy. My calling in life is to live this every day.

2019: simpler and richer, stronger and kinder, purposeful and gentle, selfish and loving, expansive, these are some of the words I evoke into my life. What do you wish to evoke in yours?